Psychosocial Interactions

Home Echo Discussions Module 5 Discussion Psychosocial Interactions

  • This topic has 10 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated by ecrochet.
Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #17164

    This module brought to light the importance of knowing when to reach out to licensed medical professionals and psychologists when faced with a young patient in need.  Through my experience at working at a large cancer hospital, we are lucky enough to have psychiatric services for our patients and are able to place referrals and get appointments quite quickly.  For those of you more based in the community, what resources do you have available to you and your young patients to broach these topics?


    I agree with you. I am at a large cancer center and have lots of resources – social workers, psychiatric services, etc easily accessible. At my previous position, I was at a smaller institute and it was much more difficult to provide these services to patients. Psychiatric services were very difficult to get patients into. We did not have social workers full time, but we did have a large set of volunteers that would provide assistance.


    I am a social worker at a mid-sized hospital. I see a lot of young adults, however often I receive referrals after a treatment plan/start time has already been decided and fertility has not been discussed by the medical team. This can be very challenging, and leaves a lot of ‘catching up’ in my role, and often it is too late to make any fertility preservation plans. Frustration is brought up around this quite consistently with the patients in my YA cancer support group.

    Can others share standard operating procedures at their institutions re: referrals for psychosocial support/fertility planning with newly diagnosed AYAs?


    I do not work in a hospital setting so I wonder if there is usually access to YA groups addressing  Fertility Preservation in communities where many of the respondents work. I agree that group would seem to be the most appropriate modality especially in the case presentation. But as I listen to the young woman’s responses about her religious conflicts, there may also be something else going on regarding their relationship. I would like to know a bit more about their pre-cancer hx and would also recommend they consult with a couples counselor.


    In you hospital systems or communities, do you know if you have peer-mentoring offered for people facing difficult fertility issues? Are these programs usually sponsored by the reproductive specialists’ offices?


    I work in a large cancer center as well, and we have access to social workers as well as palliative care nurses who have a great deal of experience assisting with patient’s social health needs. We also have a cancer survivor center through a local hospital which provides access to counseling services. We unfortunately do have very limited psychiatric services and it can take weeks or months to get patients in to be seen.


    I work in a smaller cancer center attached to a hospital and see very few young adults in this decision making dilemma.  I am wondering if there are any online or telephone supports for these couples and individuals.


    Our social workers work in a community-based outpatient cancer center.  We are unique in that we work for a non-profit, but contract with the oncology clinic to provide their psychosocial services. We are embedded in the clinic and assess every new patient on the date of their initial consultation. I find it interesting that we are rarely consulted by the medical team to have fertility conversations with patients. Once, maybe 5 years ago, I was asked to identify banking options as well as financial resources for a male patient. I rarely hear from my colleagues, and there are 9 of us, that they are requested to take part in these discussions. As I saw in the video, these decisions can be so complex and emotionally difficult, I wonder how these conversations look between the patient, potential partner, and medical provider in our institution. For me, this course is bringing up questions about our medical team’s knowledge of how the social work team can be utilized in these conversations.


    I work in a large hospital system and provide inpatient and outpatient psychological consultation, assessment and intervention services for adults (including young adults) with cancer. I have noticed that our referrals tend to come AFTER treatment decisions and fertility discussions have taken place (or should have taken place, in terms of fertility). I’d really love to see more of an integrated care/shared appointment model so myself and other mental health providers can be proactive rather than reactive in these contexts. I feel our hospital system does well at recognizing when patients could benefit from a referral to our service when they are experiencing adjustment issues, anxiety, and depression (for example), but may have less awareness that truly everyone could benefit from psychosocial support, or at least knowledge that our service is available to them.


    Online infertility support groups may be a possible option for individuals with limited local resources. While there may be none that are specific to oncofertility, they are likely to have other’s who can relate to not being able to build a family as they always thought they would. The cause of the infertility issues may be different but the effects are likely to be similar.


    I had a similar question to KalenMichele, it seems one of the recurring themes we hear in our work -and have gained some insight into in this course so far – is the difficulties with establishing fertility conversations and options prior to initiation of treatment. It seems easier said than done to say this could be a routine initial consult, considering both imminent need and patients/families being in the right place cognitively and emotionally to think of such long-term outcomes. But can anyone speak to success implementing this kind of model?

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.